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What All the Color-Coordinated Planting Areas Will Be Wearing

April 17, 1999|ASSOCIATED PRESS

You don't paint your house without thinking about color, or buy a pair of shoes in randomly mixed colors, do you? Consider applying the same philosophy to choosing annual flowers.

Too often, seeds or seedlings are sold in color mixtures. But many annuals, such as bachelor's buttons, morning glory, alyssum and petunia, come in single colors. Others, such as marigolds, exist in shades of one basic color.

With single colors, it's more important to pay attention to the "seating arrangement" of flowers. Such attention can reward your creative impulses and eyes more than a mixed bag of color.

Here are tips for planting deliberately chosen colors:

* Mass together colors and types of flowers in one color. But a 2-by-2-foot patch of snaps makes a bold and beautiful statement.

* Leaves come in shades of green, yellow and red; also think bricks and stones. Such features can contrast, harmonize and highlight nearby flower colors. For instance, midday sun will wash brilliance from the most fiery red poppy, but a dark yew lets a white daisy stand out even in such light.

* Consider harmony and contrast in colors, using plenty of the former and not too much of the latter. Imagine a color wheel of red, yellow and blue, with all the shades in between. Colors that clash are across from each other on this wheel. The most harmonious combinations are close to each other, such as red and purple, or purple and blue. White combines easily with all colors.

* Consider distance. Red tends to draw a flower close, which is disturbing if that flower is, in fact, distant. Red geraniums look just right spilling out of planters and window boxes right against the house. Blues are a better choice for distant viewing.

So as you choose flower seeds, think in terms of bold swatches of reds, violets, oranges, mauves and pinks, not just in terms of mixed colors of petunias or zinnias.

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